With Memorial Day right around the corner, the “unofficial” kick off to the summer season is officially upon us – and if you haven’t been thinking about it all winter and spring, now is the time to start planning your overnight fishing trips. From the destination to the food to clothing, there’s so much to consider, especially the accommodations – Will you take a camper? Stay at a local hotel? Or maybe you’re a traditionalist and just love setting up a tent under a clear sky.
Well, as a proud gear head, and lover of all things outdoors, I have spent many years sleeping outside under the stars. From nights spent hanging in hammocks in the forests of Pennsylvania to pitching family-sized tents in Utah’s deserts, tents and sleep systems are some of my favorite things to review and write about.
As such and in thinking outside the traditional tent box, I recently connected with the good folks at Denver Outfitters about their OverRoam Rooftop Tent (RTT). Our family took it for a test drive earlier this spring and I’m excited to share some of the great features Denver Outfitters provides in their rooftop tent.
Check it out…
Winter in the Rockies is unpredictable! With failed attempts to demo the OverRoam Rooftop Tent at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, we finally had a chance to test it out in the San Luis Valley’s Penitente Canyon in Southern Colorado – a short drive from a gold metal stretch of the Rio Grande near the towns of South Fork and Del Norte.
The OverRoam Rooftop Tent comes in two models: the “Rapid” and “Rugged”. Here’s what Denver Outfitters has to say about each:
“The “Rapid” Model – This OverRoam Roof Top Tent auto-raises with the use of four, high-rated nitrogen gas hydraulic pistons. Raising the Rapid model takes an average of 6.53 seconds.
The “Rugged” Model – This OverRoam Roof Top Tent is raised manually by using a crank handle. Raising this version takes an average of 25.51 seconds.
Both our models hold the same amount of weight in transport, and strength in the elements.”
We demoed the “Rugged” model.
First and foremost, I need to let the world know that when I arrived at the Denver Outfitters headquarters, I was immediately blown away by their kindness and hospitality.
Joel, one of their lead guys, gave me the full tour and introduced me to his team. They then promptly installed the RTT on my Subaru – yes, Subaru, and yes installed! Installs don’t usually happen via the strength of the Denver Outfitters team, so thanks again guys!!
Now to the tent – At first glance, the OverRoam RTT is pretty unassuming. If I saw this on another vehicle and didn’t know any better, I would think it was just a low-profile cargo box (50 inches wide x 80 inches long x 12 inches high). But grab the detachable handle and this thing cranks up to a height of 38 inches with a nearly 3 inch full-size, high-density mattress inside – which is just cozy enough for our little family (two adults, one toddler).
Also, the shell seemed very rugged, and though the tent weighs nearly 150 pounds, it did not seem like a massive inconvenience for the ol’ Sooby. Once installed (4 points across 2 crossbars), it actually looked like it belonged there all along!
The Testing Grounds:
We drove nearly 2000 miles with the OverRoam RTT atop the Subaru and after six weeks of sunshine, snow, several failed camping outings, a couple photo shoots, and finally a successful trip, here’s what we found…
I like it! I really appreciated the low profile of the OverRoam and the fact that my fuel efficiency didn’t completely suffer (it only dropped a couple gallons per mile, which I’ll take for the convenience of a RTT). I also think this size is a great option for solo or two-person camping trips on smaller vehicles.
We have another RTT for the Jeep (a CVT Mt Rainier) and it’s a 4-person beast with a giant annex, awning, and what I like to refer to as “the works”. The nice thing about the Denver Outfitters OverRoam RTT is that it is compact. It’s small and efficient while being exactly what you need on camping trips: a comfortable place to sleep that provides protection from the elements!
The nitty gritty (Pros & Cons):
Performance (Manual Open/Close) – Though cranking the “Rugged” OverRoam model takes some extra time than its sister model (the Rapid), the mechanisms that lift the tent into place were relatively flawless. I’m not sure just how many times this demo model was used, but something tells me it had been cranked up and down, and up and down, and – you get the picture – many, many times. Needless to say, it worked great for us, but my arms were definitely tired afterwards (which I attribute to the height of my vehicle since I had to be on my tippy toes when rotating the handle upward).
It Has All the Right Features
- The tent fabric is abrasive-resistant and downright tough – think lightweight canvas.
- High-density mattress is included so you (or your partner) don’t have to faint/hyperventilate while trying to blow up an air mattress.
- An included telescoping aluminum ladder is light, fully adjustable and stores perfectly inside the tent (when locked down).
- Storage & lighting come stock including collapsible storage pouches on the tent “walls”, a storage net on the ceiling, and a removable LED light.
- Maximized views and airflow thanks to two large doors and two windows – this thing can be wide open or zipped tight.
Fit & Finish
The Fit – I have seen the OverRoam RTT fit on a wide range of vehicles – from my Subaru Outback to a variety of Toyotas, Jeep Wranglers, and other Ford & Chevy trucks. It’s slim and looks just right. Whether I was doing slower speeds on back roads or cruising at 65 down the highway, this thing didn’t budge. Once locked down on the roof rack/cross bars, you can be confident that it will remain secure.
The Finish – When collapsed, the low profile of the OverRoam is second to none. Other boxier RTTs mean your vehicle is less aerodynamic and more wind noise.
I have one complaint and one suggestion when it comes to the Denver Outfitters OverRoam RTT.
First, RUNOFF! Spring in the Rockies means snow followed by blazing sunshine. While the tent did not seem effected by the melting snow, it was just wide enough that when making a left or right turn, any snowmelt accumulated on the top of the tent would flow freely down and into my driver and passenger side windows. I’m not sure how to resolve this, other than make sure you are prepared (roll the windows up) and/or don’t have your tent on the vehicle during the snowy months.
Second, the locking/closing mechanisms to ensure the tent stays closed remind me of a ski boot, only they’re missing the ratcheting mechanism. By adding ratchets to each of the closing mechanisms, locking the tent down would be much easier.
But are these deal breakers? Not necessarily. And here’s why:
For someone who has used ground tents, hammock tents, and other RTTs, the OverRoam is a very strong contender. If you’re looking for a low profile, capable tent for your next fishing adventure, this could very well be the perfect option for you! And in case you have any doubts, here are 4 questions to ask yourself before making the plunge:
Q1: Is my vehicle RTT-ready/RTT-compatible?
A: YES! Well, better yet, more likely than not. Unless you have an incredibly small, compact vehicle, most modern cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. are capable of carrying the weight of a rooftop tent. The real factor is the crossbar/roof rack system. Make sure you know the manufacturer’s weight restrictions for the rack/cross bars on your vehicle.
Q2: Is the OverRoam big enough for me?
A: Only you know this answer. How many people are you camping with? Do you want your adventure dog/cat/lizard to come along, too? Is having some kind of annex important to you? The Denver Outfitters OverRoam fits 2 people very comfortably, and 2 and a half make it a little cozier. The mattress is equivalent to a full-size bed, so if that’s enough for you and your sweetheart/best bud and small dog and/or human, go for it. But if Fido is coming along with you and your three best friends, you might want to consider a larger RTT from another company.
Q3: How much of an investment do I want to make?
A: As of May 2017, the OverRoam RTT is priced at $2,600. For that price, you get access/mobility (goes everywhere your vehicle can go), a comfy mattress, rugged weather resistant digs (the wind/snow/rain won’t make for a soggy night in the field), and one heck of a cool piece of gear that will last for quite some time. Additionally, the guys and gals at Denver Outfitters went an extra step to ensure you still have a usable roof rack with the built-in cross bars on top of the tent (strong enough to even hold bikes!) so you can take your adventure accoutrements along, too!
Q4: Are you ready to convert your vehicle into a real “adventure rig”?
A: If the answer is yes, a RTT is the way to go!
To learn more or buy your own, visit the Denver Outfitters website!
This blog post will also be posted on Bass Fishing Media – for more fishing adventures and gear reviews, check out their website!